PSN and Xbox Live hackers turn their attention to Tor

UPDATE: The Tor Project has tweeted out an official statement playing down the seriousness of the attacks:

This looks like a regular attempt at a Sybil attack: the attackers have signed up many new relays in hopes of becoming a large fraction of the network. But even though they are running thousands of new relays, their relays currently make up less than 1 percent of the Tor network by capacity. We are working now to remove these relays from the network before they become a threat, and we don’t expect any anonymity or performance effects based on what we’ve seen so far.

Our original story continues below.

While you’ve been tucking into your turkey and exchanging gifts with your nearest and dearest, hackers calling themselves the Lizard Group have been busy disrupting some of the Web’s most popular services: Online networks for both the Playstation and Xbox continue to experience problems, and the same cyber pirates now seem to have turned their attention to anonymous Internet platform Tor.

A tweet from the official Lizard Squad account confirmed that Tor was its new target on the day after Christmas. If the hackers are able to gain access to enough of the nodes (or relays) in Tor’s network it could possibly compromise the anonymity of the service. So far Tor has not made any official response but users are spotting evidence of trouble.

Bizarrely, it seems as though Megaupload founder and Internet pioneer Kim Dotcom may have been responsible for easing the strain on Sony and Microsoft’s gaming networks over the past 24 hours. As Yahoo reports, the Lizard Group says it turned its attention away from PSN and Xbox Live after Dotcom intervened with an offer of lifetime memberships to the Mega service.

Although the Lizard Squad says Sony and Microsoft are no longer under attack, the PlayStation Network remains unavailable at the time of writing. Xbox Live, meanwhile, appears to be back up, at least to an extent. With large swathes of the world currently away from their office desks due to the Christmas holidays, information is proving hard to come by — if you’re experiencing problems then the best sources for information are probably the official Twitter accounts @AskPlayStation and @XboxSupport.

The full extent of the hacking attack and its eventual consequences probably won’t become clear for a few days, but Christmas 2014 is certainly going to be remembered as a particularly notorious one in terms of online security exploits. As far as Tor is concerned, its Twitter feed remains quiet for the time being, though an attack had been expected a few days ago. If you wondering what on earth Tor is anyway, our beginner’s guide has you covered.

[Image courtesy of sycther5 / Shutterstock.com]

Movies & TV

From Hawkeye to Hit-Monkey, here’s every Marvel show and movie coming your way

The MCU's third phase might have ended, but Marvel's takeover of theaters and TV screens is just getting started. If you're hungry for more superhero action, here's every upcoming project to look forward to, from the MCU and otherwise.

Everything we know about Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne adds the largest region in the game to date alongside new monsters, mechanics, and much more. The expansion launches on PS4 and Xbox One on September 6.

This Prime Day Sony PS4 bundle deal comes with God of War and Days Gone

Amazon is currently offering a PS4 Pro bundle with the games God of War and Days Gone at a substantial discount. God of War was one of our favorite games of 2018, and it can be played in 4K on PS4 Pro.
Home Theater

What is Android TV? Google’s smart TV software fully explained

Google's Android TV might not be a household name yet, but with growing support from brands like Sony, it will be soon. But what exactly is Android TV, how do you get it, and what are the benefits? We explain it all.

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.

Could Google Stadia finally make game streaming a great way to play?

Google Stadia could be the game streaming service that finally does it right. High-resolution, HDR gaming, at high-frame rates for anyone in the world on almost any device? It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it's Google.

Forget work and find Google’s hidden, fun, time-wasting Wimbledon tennis game

Google has hidden a fun game based around the Wimbledon tennis tournament in its Search engine, ready for those looking to take a short (or not so short) break from what you should really be doing. Work, probably.

Not sure if Amazon Prime is right for you? Here is everything you need to know

So what is Amazon Prime? Is the premium membership really worth the cost of admission? With Prime Day, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime, and more, it might be worth jumping on board Amazon's all-inclusive membership program.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be ending, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Movies & TV

20 Netflix hacks, tips, and tricks to make your streaming experience better

Netflix's tried-and-true formula hardly begs for improvement, but you can get even more out of your subscription with these 20 Netflix tips and tricks, sure to improve your online streaming experience.
Social Media

YouTube offers creators more ways to boost their bank accounts

Whether you're a top YouTube creator or just breaking into the game, the video-streaming site has some new features designed to help you please your fans and increase your bank balance.

All of these services let you own your content, so you’ll never lose it

With the closure of Microsoft's ebook store, consumers have begun to wonder exactly how much of their digital media they actually own, and how much is licensed. For the average person, the news isn't great.

Need to block ads and trackers? Browse our list of the best browsers for privacy

Whether your privacy concerns are focused on controlling cookies or blocking ads and malware, you're sure to find the best browser for your security needs among our picks for the best browsers for privacy.